Today, we live in an era where technology surrounds us. What seemed impossible a few years ago is now a reality. We can dream without limits thanks to technology, and we can rely on it to effect transformational change. However, the gifting industry is one domain that has been overlooked. Gerard Panganiban, Co-Founder of Giftinity, stepped up to the challenge and has disrupted the gifting industry. With Giftinity, Gerard is cleverly utilising technology to eliminate confusion, thereby making gifting a pleasurable experience.
We got into a conversation with Gerard to learn more about his journey and how he plans to put an end to unwanted gifts once and for all.
Gerard Panganiban: “The idea for Giftinity came to me while studying at DePaul University. When I first pitched the concept in class, students – and even my professor – told me, “If this was a real product, I would absolutely have used this.” Outside of class, people would respond to the idea with, “I have this exact problem with gifting: not knowing what to give.” Further research revealed that dissatisfaction with gifts is hardly uncommon. Can you imagine that $120 billion worth of unwanted gifts were returned in 2021? This trend is not new and the return rates keep spiralling up as gifting relies more and more on e-commerce. These shifts in consumer behavior made me realize that my concept is not only viable; it also has a massive target market. Giftinity is poised to not only satisfy picky gift-receivers but also boost e-commerce by decreasing the ratio of recalled orders with personalized gift options.”
"gift-giving is more than just a transaction; it’s a significant ritual at the foundation of the social system."
Gift giving made easy
Gerard Panganiban: “Giftinity is an AI-powered gift recommendation platform on a mission to transform the gifting industry by creating a new ecosystem of customer-vendor relationships. We solve a very common issue: selecting the perfect gift for a specific person. The process of gift ‘chasing’ may at times feel like torture. Not only does it take away the giver’s pleasure, but it sometimes ends up in disappointment for the receiver. Giftinity aims to simplify the gift purchasing experience with personalized recommendations based on AI-driven analyses of the receiver’s open-source data. All that a giver needs to do is scroll through a tailor-made list and pick from one of the options. Users may narrow the selection by entering a range of conditions such as occasion, location, time of the year, etc. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Giftinity is intended to be an ecosystem—a B2B2C platform. While it does serve individual customers on one hand, it also creates a marketplace for e-stores. In this context, Giftinity acts as an intelligent SaaS, pairing e-outlets with their target audiences.
At Giftinity, we believe that gift-giving is more than just a transaction; it’s a significant ritual at the foundation of the social system. By facilitating this process, we foster meaningful relationships and create value for society at large. Giftinity brings accessibility to products and services (gifts) as well as supports social well-being (relationships), even in far-flung communities. For example, a person in a village with internet access can send a gift to someone on the other side of the country. Eventually, Giftinity will expand internationally and, thus, contribute to creating new opportunities for employment in the IT sector. Our vision includes making such a thriving economic impact in the communities we partner in.”
Playing to win
Gerard Panganiban: “Giftinity is an early-stage start-up. We are at the beginning of our journey, but we’ve hit some considerable milestones already. In 2020, we developed a mobile app prototype, and in 2021, we launched a web store featuring gifts from our partner stores. We are now developing the full version of our AI engine, which we expect to present to investors by the end of this year or earlier. While we plan for a commercial launch in the US in 2023, we are convinced that Giftinity will spread globally in a relatively short time. Our success is substantially tied in with an A-team of professionals who are passionate about what they do.”
Outwitting the competition
Gerard Panganiban: “Competition is low as no platform offers an AI-powered analysis to match Giftinity’s engine. Yet, the threat of new entrants always exists. Besides, Web 3.0 and the Metaverse will ultimately pull users from digital to virtual shopping. Therefore, we are developing Giftinity as a scalable platform that adapts to growing market demands. Our direct competitors, including gifting apps and websites, overwhelm customers with hundreds of choices, making the experience of buying gifts tedious. At Giftinity, we leverage the power of AI to recommend the best gift. Our recommendations reflect the receiver’s interests and the sentiment the giver wants to convey. We aim to be the definitive gift-giving platform. Since gifts are precisely what we do, it also sets us apart from competitors who offer gifting services as a mere addition.”
Staying updated is staying ahead
Gerard Panganiban: “My team monitors various resources to stay abreast with developments in the market. For example, did you know that the global gifting market is valued at $200 billion? This excludes corporate gifting! We are looking at an economic sector worth $675 billion to work in. As we operate in the technology sector, we have to innovate to stay relevant. Incremental learning is undoubtedly one of the pillars of Giftinity’s DNA.”
When the best inspires you
Gerard Panganiban: “I admire Elon Musk and how he can achieve things that everyone previously thought were impossible. I want to apply his advice to my business. The person who inspires me the most is Mr. Adel Mardini, CEO of Jetex Flight Support, a company I had the privilege to work for. He started his company with little experience and resources and an enormous dream to make things happen. As an employee, I have witnessed how he grew his company through focus, hard work, patience, and persistence. I dream of making Giftinity a global name for gifting. Everything can be achieved if you have these qualities—the perfect entrepreneurial mindset.”
When Gerard isn’t working
Gerard Panganiban: “Being a massive sports fan, I love to keep up to date with basketball, football, the F1 races, and more. I am a martial art black belt too! I also enjoy listening to audiobooks – specifically about motivation, leadership, spirituality, technology, and cryptocurrency.”